Taking on Racing Welfare’s Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge this summer are Carol and Gemma Double. The mother and daughter have more than 40 years’ experience in the racing industry between them, during which time they have experienced Racing Welfare’s support first-hand, as well as seen the impact of the charity’s work on those around them.
Carol first heard about the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge via social media and immediately thought it could be something for her and Gemma to do together.
Carol says: “I’m always up for a bit of a challenge! I messaged Gemma and said, ‘what do you think?’ and she said she was up for it.”
The pair signed up to the challenge the very next day, citing their joint incentive to ‘give something back’ to the charity that supported Gemma in her recovery from an injury almost ten years ago.
Gemma recalls the accident that resulted in multiple fractures to her foot: “The filly I was riding whipped around, slipped, and fell on top of me. I had two operations [on my foot] and quite a lot of rehab.”
Carol was employed as a head person at a neighbouring yard at the time of her daughter’s injury and made the initial approach to Racing Welfare on Gemma’s behalf, she says: “Gemma was in and out of hospital so I contacted the local welfare officer. After the second operation, when she was ready to start with her rehab, they managed to get her into Oaksey [House] for physiotherapy which was good.”
Gemma continues: “Racing Welfare put me in contact with Oaksey House and funded my treatment there. They helped with the costs and sorted it all out for me.
“I had six months in cast so I wasn’t really walking for a long time. They helped me out massively with all the physio and getting me back to work again – all I wanted to do was to get back to work and get riding again.
“[The treatment at Oaksey House] was good, I had it very intense for the first two weeks – they know how to get you back [and ready to ride] again!”
Following her intense physiotherapy, Gemma was able to return to work by the end of 2014. She is currently working for Dan Skelton and has been with the Alcester trainer for six seasons.
Although Gemma’s support from Racing Welfare ended almost ten years ago, she reflects on the help that she sees being extended to others at her current workplace: “Recently we had a welfare officer visit us on the yard. We’ve got a few members of staff here that struggle a little bit financially and the welfare officer helped them all out. I know Racing Welfare have really helped a number of [my colleagues] massively… and I know that wouldn’t be possible if the fundraising didn’t go on behind the scenes.
“It’s nice to know that if myself or anyone else were to get injured again we’ve got a charity that can help, and in more ways than one. We’ve a lot of posters up [at work] about the mental health support as well, so it’s good to support [the charity] as much as we can.”
Sign up for Racing Welfare’s Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge here.